Land Rover no longer will ship Freelander SUVs to the U.S. and Canada, due to a shortage of engines.
The OEM has purchased 2.5L gasoline V-6s from MG Rover through a contract forged when both companies co-existed underAG. With the collapse of MG Rover's Powertrain company, Land Rover will see its supply of Freelander mills run dry, a spokesman says.
As a result, Land Rover is pulling the vehicle from North America, where it sells slowly and represents 6% of the mix, in favor of supplying other markets. It will be reimbursed financially for the volume decline by Phoenix Venture Holdings Ltd. (which owns MG Rover Powertrain), he says.
Land Rover reportedly will shed 300 contract jobs as a result of the shrinking output. About 75% of Freelander sales are diesel versions, which are popular in Europe where diesel sales have experienced a resurgence due to high gasoline prices and diesel efficiency.
The markets that will get remaining Freelanders include Brazil, Mexico, Japan, China and Russia.
A new Freelander is set to debut worldwide in 2006 as an '07 model, likely based on a car platform. The U.S. and Canada are slated to get the redesigned version, possibly under a new name.